Brenden Aaronson dropped, Mateusz Klich to make first start - Leeds United predicted XI vs West Ham
Jesse Marsch is predicted to axe attacking stars Jack Harrison and Brenden Aaronson when Leeds United face West Ham on Wednesday.
The Whites welcome David Moyes’ fellow strugglers to Elland Road on 4 January, coming off a hard-fought point at Newcastle last time out (31 December).
And with both sides loitering around the relegation zone at the moment it is a meeting that already looks like a six-pointer at the bottom of the table.
Marsch is having to contend with the delayed Christmas schedule packing games into a short space of time, as well as ongoing injury issues in his squad, so has rotated recently.
But after the defence produced a strong, battling performance to keep out Eddie Howe’s high-flying Newcastle side with veteran Luke Ayling brought in at right-back there seems little reason to make a change.
Pascal Struijk has done well at left-back so far this year, and the manager stuck with Liam Cooper and Robin Koch during some very shaky displays so he won’t switch them after a good one, while Ayling’s recall was a boost.
It goes without saying that Illan Meslier will be in goal anyway, but after his showing at St James’ Park his position is as secure as ever.
Since seeing Tyler Adams thrive in a midfield three for the USA at the World Cup, Marsch has been flirting with the same set up with his Leeds United side.
Adam Forshaw has been okay since his return for the past couple of matches, but he has been replaced in both, including at half-time against Newcastle by Marc Roca after the Spaniard dropped.
With those two struggling to convince and Adams available to anchor the midfield, Marsch is predicted to move to 4-3-3 and hand Mateusz Klich a first league start of the season, with the Pole playing almost an hour over the previous two games and talk of an imminent exit having died down.
It was the squad’s youngsters as much as anyone who were behind the strong attacking form prior to the World Cup, so the manager should embrace it again by using Sam Greenwood in midfield as well.
Patrick Bamford may be available for involvement against West Ham [Premier Injuries] but the chances that he is fit to start seem low, so Rodrigo keeps hold of his place up front.
Brenden Aaronson has been increasingly quiet since a strong start to the season, as has Jack Harrison after being hampered by injury.
Crysencio Summerville and Wilfried Gnonto have provided plenty of spark and are predicted to both start either side of top-scorer Rodrigo as the Whites go for a crucial home win.
In other Leeds United news, a potential loan termination in January hasn’t been ruled out by a Premier League manager.